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Allergy and Asthma

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Allergies and Asthma

writtenByWritten by: Jennifer Nelson
Jennifer Nelson

Jennifer Nelson

Jennifer is a contributing health writer who has been researching and writing health content with PlushCare for 3 years. She is passionate about bringing accessible healthcare and mental health services to people everywhere.

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reviewBy Reviewed by: Dr. Katalin Karolyi
Reviewer

Dr. Katalin Karolyi

Katalin Karolyi, M.D. earned her medical degree at the University of Debrecen. After completing her residency program in pathology at the Kenezy Hospital, she obtained a postdoctoral position at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, Orlando, Florida.

April 21, 2021 Read Time - 5 minutes

Allergies and Asthma: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment of Allergic Asthma

Did you know that allergic asthma is the most common type of asthma? Of the more than 25 million Americans who have asthma, about 60% are affected by allergic asthma.

If that sounds like you, read on for more information about allergies and asthma. We’ll talk about allergic asthma causes, symptoms, treatment, and more.

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What Is Allergic Asthma?

Asthma is a breathing disorder characterized by airway inflammation and recurrent episodes of breathing trouble. These episodes are often referred to as asthma attacks. Allergic asthma refers to asthma attacks that are triggered by inhaling allergens such as pollen, dust mites, cigarette smoke, or pet dander.

Allergic Asthma Symptoms

Symptoms of asthma, including allergic asthma, include:

  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Trouble sleeping due to coughing, wheezing or shortness of breath
  • Shortness of breath
  • A tightening feeling in the chest

Allergic Asthma Causes

Allergic asthma is caused by inhaling an allergen. Common allergic asthma triggers include:

  • Pet dander
  • Cockroaches
  • Mold
  • Dust mites
  • Pollen
  • Cigarette smoke

Allergic Asthma Diagnosis

Only a doctor can confirm that you have allergic asthma, usually after a spirometry or peak flow reading. Allergy tests can determine what you are allergic to. However, you may get a presumptive diagnosis after talking to a doctor about your symptoms.

If you do get a presumptive diagnosis of allergic asthma, you may still want to follow up with an allergist to find out which allergen or allergens may be triggering your asthma attacks.

Allergic Asthma Treatment

The best allergic asthma treatment is typically over-the-counter or prescription medication. However, it is also helpful to try to reduce your exposure to allergens that trigger your asthma attacks so you can try to prevent them before they even start.

Allergic Asthma Medication

While most treatments only treat asthma or allergies, there are a handful of treatments that tackle both allergies and asthma:

  • Leukotriene modifier. Montelukast (Singulair) is a daily pill (available by prescription only) that helps treat both allergic rhinitis (a runny, stuffy nose) and asthma symptoms like wheezing and coughing by helping to control immune system chemicals released during an allergic reaction.
  • Allergy shots (immunotherapy). Getting regular injections of a tiny amount of the allergens that trigger your symptoms can help your immune system build up a tolerance to the allergens over time, eventually reducing your symptoms.
  • Anti-immunoglobulin E (IgE) therapy. Omalizumab (Xolair) interferes with IgE (antibodies that attack the allergen as if it’s a virus or bacteria), which helps prevent the allergic reaction that triggers an asthma attack. Xolair is available by prescription only.

Reducing Your Exposure to Allergens

Here are some tips for how to reduce your exposure to the allergens that are triggering your asthma attacks.

Exposure to pets:

  • Wash your hands immediately after petting animals you’re allergic to and wash your clothes right away after you visit a home that has pets.
  • Keep pets outside when possible. If you can’t keep them outdoors, at least keep them out of your bedroom (and definitely off your bed). You’ll sleep better if you aren’t inhaling asthma-triggering pet dander while you sleep.
  • Replace carpet in your home with hard floors. Carpet easily traps pet dander that can trigger your allergies. Additionally, use an air purifier in your bedroom to help get rid of stray dander and fur that may make its way to your room, even if you keep pets out.

Indoor exposure:

  • Limit the amount of mold in your home by keeping the humidity levels low, ideally between 30-50%. Frequently clean your bathroom and other places that tend to grow mold.
  • Reduce your exposure to dust mites by using mite-proof covers for all your bedding.
  • Leave allergy-inducing pollen outside by keeping your windows closed. Use air conditioning in your home and car, instead.

Outdoor exposure:

  • Avoid using window fans. They can suck pollen and other allergens into your home. Stick with the AC instead.
  • If you can, stay indoors when pollen counts are high (usually during the middle of the morning and in the early evening). Also try to avoid going out when the wind is high and blowing pollen around.
  • When you are outside, wear glasses or sunglasses to reduce how much pollen gets in your eyes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Asthma Be Caused by Allergies?

Yes, asthma can be triggered by inhaling allergens like pet dander, cigarette smoke, and pollen.

What Does Allergy-Induced Asthma Feel Like?

Different people may have different experiences, but in general, allergy-induced asthma may feel like tightening in the chest, trouble breathing, coughing, and wheezing.

Is Allergic Asthma the Same as Asthma?

There are many different types of asthma, all with different triggers. Allergic asthma is the most common type of asthma, affecting more than half of all asthma sufferers. Other asthma triggers include cold air, exercise, infections, stress, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Does Allergic Asthma Go Away?

Generally, allergic asthma does not go away. However, learning how to avoid your allergy triggers may help, as can Singulair, a prescription medication you take every day that helps to control immune system chemicals released during an allergic reaction.

  • Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  • See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  • Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.

PlushCare-App-Steps

Treatment for Allergies and Asthma Online

While it can be extremely helpful to get allergy testing to find out exactly what you’re allergic to, you can still get allergic asthma treatment online.

During a video or phone appointment with a licensed PlushCare doctor, you will talk about your allergies and asthma as well as your medical history and any medications you take. The doctor can recommend over-the-counter treatments or, if it’s appropriate for you, send an electronic prescription to your local pharmacy.

Start feeling better as soon as today. Schedule an online appointment at PlushCare now!


Read More About Allergies and Asthma


Sources:

PlushCare is dedicated to providing you with accurate and trustworthy health information.

American Academy of Allergy Asthma, & Immunology. Allergic Asthma Definition. Accessed on April 8, 2021 at https://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/conditions-dictionary/allergic-asthma

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Allergens and Allergic Asthma. Accessed on April 8, 2021 at https://www.aafa.org/allergic-asthma/

Mayo Clinic. Allergies and Asthma: They Often Occur Together. Accessed on April 8, 2021 at https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/asthma/in-depth/allergies-and-asthma/art-20047458

U.S. National Library of Medicine. Medline Plus. Allergic Asthma. Accessed on April 8, 2021 at https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/condition/allergic-asthma/

Most PlushCare articles are reviewed by M.D.s, Ph.Ds, N.P.s, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. Click here to learn more and meet some of the professionals behind our blog. The PlushCare blog, or any linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. For more information click here.

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